Ok, it’s been a long time since my last sketchblog post, but sometimes life gets in the way of things like blogging. It’s been a busy couple of months and some of it has been dull (but necessary) trudgery…but there has also been time for fun and frivolity.
I’m sure we all pass places that look interesting and think “I really must have a look in there when I have time” and then fail miserably to go back. The Idler Academy is one such place for me. Or rather it was until the back end of November. I walk or drive past The Idler on a fairly regular basis and it’s always intrigued me but, of course, I’ve always been too busy to stop and see what it’s all about. That changed when I passed by and saw a sign advertising a Gin & Drawing evening.
Yes, that’s right, gin AND drawing. Two of my favourite things. I couldn’t resist!
I arrived early (I know, very swotty, but I was very excited) and sat comfortably to wait for the rest of the class to arrive. Gin (Hendricks, served in teacups) helped to take the edge off my nerves. Before too long everyone was there and we got started. A friend of mine had also come along, which was good as we could whisper together and it’s always good to have company when you’re trying something new. One thing we did note was that the dozen or so people, excluding me, fit a very specific demographic: white, middle class, and female. That’s not hugely surprising given the location of the Idler, but it was noticeable enough for my friend and me to remark on (and thus I thought I may as well mention it).
The class was designed for everyone, regardless of ability, so the teacher (artist Alice Stevenson) had planned a series of observational exercises for us to attempt. I won’t describe the exercises because, well, you might want to go to the next class and I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you, but here are the pages from my sketchbook that night.
We then tried some cut outs, which was an interesting exercise as we had to do them without drawing an outline first. I’m rather pleased with mine (ginger, and a squash).
There was then a longer drawing session where we concentrated on the lines on the back of leaves. Alison provided kale for the added challenge, and it was a good challenge but oh the smell!
The final part of the class was collage work. This was easily my least favourite part of the evening, but I gave it a fair go and it’s not bad but you can see that my heart wasn’t really in it.
I really enjoyed the evening. The Idler is a very relaxed environment (and the gin helped!), and Alice Stevenson was a good teacher. She explained everything clearly and made everyone feel at ease. The majority of the women who attended the class hadn’t done any drawing for years, but even for me it was good fun – going back to basics often is, and it was great to be able to enjoy the process of drawing without worrying about the end result (which is what I do most of the time, when I’m drawing for work reasons). I would definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a fun (and incredibly civilised) evening out. The only improvement I can think of is that they really could have done with providing some snacks during the half-time gin break. The class started at 6.30pm and so I guess most people would have come straight from work – having something to soak up the gin, even a few bowls of crisps for people to pick at, would be no bad thing!
If you skimmed to the bottom because TL;DR then here’s the short version: gin and drawing = good. Idler Academy = brilliant. Go and have a look at their calendar and book yourself in for some interesting classes.